I can’t even believe how the contest entries have poured in during the week! I’ll admit that my main goal in having a contest was to spice up the activity level of my poor little blog and it sure did work. (Now, of course, the challenge will be in maintaining…) Anyway, since the contest had so much more participation (I had almost 60 entries and I typically only get 2 to 8 comments per post) than I had anticipated (mostly due to being noticed by the blog called WiKnit), I felt a bit torn. I would be so happy to send a prize off to a regular reader and commenter, but wouldn’t it be nice to send a prize off to a someone new to me? What to do? What to do? OK, really not so hard to figure out — I’m sending out 2 prizes — a silver and a gold.
Agent K and I printed out all the entries and separated them into 2 piles. One for people who have been to my blog and commented before (many whom I know in real life too!) and one for newbie visitors. Then we drew 2 winners.
The GOLD prize goes to Nicole from Bookwrym Knits! Nicole has been reading my blog for a very long time and she comments on almost every entry that I write so this is a well earned prize (I know, oh-the-torture of having to read about all the strange insects in my yard!). Thank you so much Nicole! Coincidentally, you will see, if you go to her blog, that I recently won her contest. Seriously and really — just a coincidence! You will also see that she just partook in a read-a-thon. I should have done that today to get through the book I need to read for book group tomorrow night. It is a great book and I want to read it, only it is not a book that can be rushed.
The SILVER prize goes to Terri D. from Off Jumps Jack! Yesterday was Terri’s birthday too. What a great time to win a contest! After perusing Terri’s blog and her Ravelry page, I found out a few interesting things about her. She is an Obama supporter, like myself. (Ok, well, she is probably a little more vocal about it than I am, but I working up to it…) We have both made the following items: baby surprise jacket, coronet, multidirectional scarf, and a booga bag. She lives in the the city and has 3 children. She likes all kinds of colors (which will make choosing a yarn to send to her very easy!).
OK winners, I will be contacting you to get your mailing information and any additional preferences and/or allergies. Thank you to everyone else for entering. And to all my “newbies,” welcome and I hope you will “stay” for a while!
The class was fantastic! I learned so much. The workshop portion of “Rhinebeck” started on Thursday and I drove out to take Spinning for Socks with Judith MacKenzie-McCuin. If you have been reading for a while, you know I’m a bit of a stalker when it comes to famous fiber artists and Judith was extremely “stalk-worthy.” There were a couple little glitches in the morning – I parked a bit far away from the class building and I was running late. I rushed to the class only to find that I need not have worried as the workshop was also starting late. The classes were held in a large building with the “rooms” divided by curtains so it was also a bit difficult to hear at times. Judith was recovering from a cold so I really had to concentrate to hear. The other thing I forgot was a notebook and so I found myself writing all that I could on little scraps of paper. Other than those few things, I thoroughly enjoyed my day.
She started by teaching us the attributes of a good sock yarn. She talked about top versus roving. This part was especially interesting to me as I’m never quite sure how to label things in my Etsy shop. I buy some fibers as roving and some as top. Most people search for handpainted fiber on Etsy by using the word “roving” so I always want to include that. What she taught was that once top, which has all its fibers aligned parallel and straight and is steamed and pressed, is hand dyed and washed, it is no longer top. It would have to be recombed to realign all the fibers to be labeled again as top. This was when I made a big “note to self” to only use the word roving in my listings for now on. It is a relief that I don’t have to worry about that technicality anymore.
As you can imagine, one of the attributes of a good sock yarn is strength. We talked about worsted spinning versus woolen spinning and discovered that worsted spinning would be a good choice for socks. Thus, much of the class was dedicated to learning worsted spinning techniques and I learned to spin in a way I had never tried before.
As we tried some different fibers, she went around the room helping all the students. There were 10 of us in all, though I have to admit that I only learned the name of my neighbor to the left (Cindy) and didn’t really get a chance to mingle much throughout the day. I discovered that I need to work on which hand I hold my fiber supply. Even though I’m right handed, I spin with my left hand and hold my fiber with my right hand. I’m not sure why this is, I did try both ways on Thursday to see if the switch would be easy, but my hands cramped. The question I have is if my hands cramped because they are not used to spinning that way or if the reason I spin with my left hand is to avoid the hand cramping and give them break from their usual roles.
We were all allowed to take enough merino top to make a pair of socks using a spinning technique called marling (not sure about the spelling on that). This is when you spin multiple colors into your sock yarn by holding 2 or 3 different color tops in one hand while spinning across the tops of each (yes, the tops of the tops) and then switching out the colors so you have 4 or more colors all together. It is not easy, but the effects are pretty. Here is a photo of a sample of my yarn (3 ply) and my fibers that I took at home the next day (the lighting in the workshop classroom was not very good for my camera).
We also spent a lot of time talking about plying. Multiple plies are good for socks and we got to learn some new plying techniques to add to our “bags.” I would highly recommend to any spinner to take as many classes as you can because there are some highly knowledgeable teachers out there and they have so much to give. You can never have too many spinning tricks in your bag and you never know what you are going to need to know for any given fiber, project, or situation. So take that class you have always wanted to take — it will be worth it!
So now, I’m off to go tell my Gold and Silver finalists the good news and visit some of your blogs! Thank you again for sharing your love of October with me. It is a great month!